Traditionally, cocoa is cultivated in producing countries and sold for export in the form of beans. Importing countries then process the beans, transforming the raw goods into finished or semi-finished products (cocoa butter, cocoa liqueur, cocoa powder, etc.). In recent years, in an effort to increase the value of exports, some producer countries, such as the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria and Brazil, have developed their own facilities for grinding beans.
World consumption is estimated at 2 800 000 tons per year. The largest cocoa importers are Europe (more than 1.2 million tons per year) and the United States (0.4 million tons per year). The largest importers are Holland, the US, Germany, Britain and Brazil.
EuropeEuropean countries are the largest consumers of cocoa and chocolate. Each country has its own preferences and style of chocolate, the popularity of different products varying according to national taste. On average, the Swiss munch approximately 10.55 kg of chocolate per person per year. As a nation, Great Britain consumes more than 500,000 tons of chocolate per year. In France, the average consumption per person is 6.8 kg per year, with the New Year and Easter celebrations being the most important occasions for tasting and offering chocolate gifts. Eastern European countries are considered an important emerging new market and should remain so for the foreseeable future.
According to one study conducted in the United States, 52% of Americans considered chocolate their favorite flavor for desserts and confections. Historically, Americans have demonstrated a clear preference for milk chocolate, although appreciation for dark chocolate appears to be increasing, particularly among baby boomers. Average consumption is 5.68 kg per person per year.
The Rest of the World
Since the start of the 1990s, Asia has developed into a major chocolate market. Japan has experienced a significant increase in chocolate consumption during the past decade. Demand in China increased to 9,000 tons in 2000, an increase of more than 90% from the previous year! Among cocoa producing countries, Brazil has seen an increase of 10% in its annual consumption per person since 1993.